The World Cup Transfer Speculation Post


<Today’s post is best read to the accompaniment of “Si Firmir O Grido” by A Certain Ratio>

To be honest, it’s amazing that I’ve got this far into the close season without succumbing to temptation. We Arsenal fans, we do like a transfer rumour, a bit of a gossip over the electronic garden fence a la Messrs Dawson and Kinnear.

And for once, we going into this World Cup not with our faces against the window, steaming up the glass with the hot breath from our noses. This time we’ve got our place in the queue and they are going to let us into the shop. Of course, that doesn’t mean we’re going to spend anything but at least this time we can touch the merchandise.

Or that’s how we perceive the situation to be; will, I wonder, Ivan Gazidis in his forthcoming Q&A, seek to quell the burning fires of ambition and underplay the club’s ability to spend in the transfer market, citing the murky waters of wages, agents’ fees and other ancillary costs that diminish the pot of gold being jealously guarded by Arsenal’s tame leprechaun?

To be facing an audience studying his every tic and word minutely is a double-edged sword for the CEO. Every word will twist in the social media breeze, bend and be misshapen beyond recognition by the morning. There’s nothing Gazidis can do about that beyond relatively bland utterances but will they be enough to keep desires in check? Indeed, perhaps the question is whether Arsenal should keep hopes, aspirations and expectations in check? Football is after all, an industry that thrives, indeed excels, at profiting from rumour. Arsenal will be hoping momentum can be built with tickets to be sold for The Emirates Shindig; they want people to take a punt on new signings being on show for those matches.

Ivan will no doubt push the positive aspect of Arsène’s new contract. If you push to one side your personal views on whether a new deal is the right thing for the club, Wenger’s decision is a double-edged sword for him personally. However he is remembered will be shaped by the next three years; more of the same of the last few years and it will, over time, become a stay too long. Re-establish Arsenal as challengers, the tag ‘genius’ will be applied. It’s something which he would have considered and for that reason, I believe we should be confident of investment in the summer. He won’t want his legacy to be a descent out of the top four, a target he has placed so much store in.

For the past few seasons, there has been a groundswell of hope that on these evenings Ivan will announce a new signing. It won’t happen although why Serge Aurier is not already an Arsenal player is beyond me. Short of walking naked down Islington High Street with nothing for company but a sandwich board pronouncing, “The End Of The World Is Nigh If I Don’t Sign For Arsenal”, it’s hard to see what more he can do to get a contract at the club. It would be no surprise if he has not founded The Church of Wenger and appointed himself High Priest. A quick win as Arsenal seek to replace Bacary Sagna but this is Arsenal, do we do quick wins? It’s not a tricky signing as Arsène should able to walk freely amongst all the World Cup squads having cleverly disguised himself as an analyst for French TV.

The replacement of Sagna has been an object lesson in how media speculation works. Its face value with the full back’s versatility across the back four overlooked. We don’t need cover at left back with Gibbs and Monreal whilst so long as Vermaelen is fit, Arsenal could get away with three experienced centre backs in the squad so long as Arsène has complete confidence in youth. That remains to be seen with Miquel gaining experience on loan but when a youngster goes away from the club, you are never quite sure if it is to continue his education at a faster pace, to see how adaptable they are to differing styles of play or if they are quite simply going into the shop window.

Recent days have seen goalkeepers coming to the fore, David Ospina will no doubt be inspired between the Colombian sticks now that he knows his £3.5m deal at Arsenal is on the line. We’re not interested in how he played for his club, no, just on his international performances this summer. It leaves you hoping that Arsène isn’t suckered into the Poborsky trap and seduced by one good moment in a tournament, ruing his rashness over the next three years. Of course, this interest is a blow to David Marshall of Cardiff who was touted to challenge Szczesny for his first XI spot. At least John Ruddy has a chance being England’s third choice goalkeeper. Actually he probably does if a repeat of the hapless Rob Green’s performance in South Africa, occurs. I am sure at some point a link with Iker Casillas will arise as well, he is known to be keen to try his hand at the League Cup now he has won just about very honour in the game.

That’s a point actually. The League Cup: diminished status through disrespect shown by managers or the fact that they don’t give tankards to the winners anymore? Discuss.

Which brings us to the midfield. Pfft, forget the love for Reus. Draxler is chip paper. You can Witsel if you think Axel is joining and as much as the commercial department may think that Lars or Sven – with tippex and a red felt tip – will shift the Bendtner mountain of shirts, it is unlikely to happen. At least there’s no chance of him signing the wrong one since injury has ruled them out of the German squad.

But there’s only one midfielder anybody is interested in chatting about. Whether it’s even vaguely sensible or worthwhile is another matter. The sheer number of – and unashamed way that – people are prostrating themselves at Cesc Fabregas’ feet is unseemly. Panic struck quickly and you sense it will only subside if Arsène gives a similarly definitive statement about his protégé’s future. It seems no lessons have been learned from Manchester United’s risible trailing of Fabregas down the garden path last summer. It signalled the downfall of Rome under Julius Moyes. Perhaps Nero Moyes is more appropriate as United’s title defence burned, he was fiddling about) but that took a couple of months to become entirely apparent.

There is a sense that history is repeating itself. Cesc is apparently available for £30m with Barcelona holding out for £32.5m. Those values put paid to the rumoured buyback value of £35m that Arsenal put into the contract when we sold him. Or at least the urban myth says that we put that value into the contract, nobody has ever proven it exists with many contrary claims disputing this belief.

The question is not whether the romantic vision of the past haunts the future, where unrequited love is finally returned but more to the point, do Arsenal actually need Cesc? Is signing the Spanish international part of a cohesive plan to strengthen the squad or opportunistic stockpiling of talent to stop him going to rivals? I find the overstated desire for his return distasteful. Let’s not forget that he engineered his move away in the first place; the way some talk anyone who didn’t know the background would swear Fabregas had been sold against his will and taken to the Camp Nou, screaming and crying for Arsène to take him home.

The flip side of that is, of course, the injury curse. We missed Theo Walcott, we missed Özil, Ramsey, and Wilshere when they were out. We could quite easily produce an argument that signing him is merely adding to the squad depth on that basis, even if his hamstrings suffer a recurrence of the problem which blighted his closing months at the club. After all, many of us criticised Arsène for not investing in January for that reason, the lack of replacements curtailing a title challenge. We can salivate all we like about the creative genius in midfield that Fabregas’ addition would give us but if we don’t have the firepower up front, the variety and support for Giroud, then creativity means nothing much at all.

It’s simple, we need more depth up front. Big names – Cavani, Costa – are still out of Arsenal’s financial reach which is why the stories linking us with Loic Remy are so hard to disbelieve. Many believe we don’t need a big name striker and Remy has one of the shortest names in football at the moment. He linked well with Giroud at international level – well, according to the reports of friendly against Paraguay – and has the versatility to play across the Arsenal frontline. He looked good for Newcastle at times last season which is not much of a recommendation given they were so awful for large chunks of the season. Is he going to push Giroud to the next level? That’s hard to say; the most telling comment that the Arsenal striker made last summer was that he didn’t fear Suarez joining, he felt he was safe in the starting line-up. Higuain was a different matter; that concerned him. I suspect that Benzema would provoke a similar reaction.

At £13.5m, Remy is not cheap but he is affordable. It also stops Arsène looking at old boys, a habit that leaves me fearful of the prospect of Nicklas Bendtner re-joining at some point. Savour that thought for a moment and then seriously think about whether you want the prospect of Carlos Vela returning to Arsenal? Supporters have gone a bit soft in their dotage. Vela could not adapt to the physicality of the English game at the club when he was here previously, there is nothing to suggest he can now either, as good as his statistics were in La Liga last season. Antoine Griezman had a good season as well, not quite as prolific as Vela but I wonder if either of these two are really a target? If they are, I don’t see them offering the quantity of goals that Arsenal lacked last time around. If either arrives, I would also question whether Lukas Podolski is staying. The German is a fan-favourite and I like him as a player but I don’t think he produced enough last season to change Arsène’s mind that he has a future as a central striker

Watching the matches with half a scouting eye is all part of the fun of the World Cup and let’s face it, whilst I would love him to sign the next Maradona, as long as he doesn’t sign the next Francis Jeffers, I’ll be happy.

’til Tomorrow.

221 thoughts on “The World Cup Transfer Speculation Post

  1. clock-end

    I love jack but the boy brings it on himself, he just flies into challenges and bulldozes into player’s like he’s made of steel!

    He’s not.

    Just be smart, bloody hell!

  2. @Moe

    His best football last season was when he played one touch, he is trying to hard to make something happen which unfortunately leads to more injuries.

  3. MA

    Maybe he thinks he has to get past some imaginary mental barrier to show he isn’t afraid of getting injured again.

    Absolute nonsense.

    He has already spent the majority of he’s young footballing career injured, just prolong your career, stay injury free at all costs!

    For objective next season should be to stay injury free all season, no matter what.

  4. Miami.

    You really like Remy. I certainly don’t follow football as closely as you but I hope you are correct since I have a feeling he will be the only striker we buy this summer. Putting him ahead of Dzeko is debatable but hard to imagine Remy is better then sturridge after all the goals he scored this season. Sturridge. scored 21 goals on 99 shots and 7 assists in 29 games. He also held the fort very well when Suarez was suspended. As it said before I doubt he will repeat a career season like that but he was impressive this season and will probably be a good player for several seasons

  5. @bill apparently they bought Cesc too now? Pique said on camera he’s been sold for 33M. So someone has bought him. Now THAT would be one good Chelsea team. Cesc and Hazard? thats like Cesc and Nasri back in the day but Hazard is better than Nasri…

  6. @Bill

    I am of the mind that Remy can be a good player, are there better? Of course, there always is. I’m not looking at Remy’s price mate, just at what he brings to the table in relation to our team needs. Remy would have scored more playing for Liverpool or Arsenal than he did playing for Newcastle. Remy is better suited to a Liverpool type formation what with advanced players like Sterling, Suarez and Sturridge around him. I would ask anyone to evaluate the player first then think on the price after. Remy’s speed and finishing is impactful if used correctly. If we are going to continue to isolate our front man whom that may be then we are going to struggle.

  7. England on The Ox

    “A concerned Roy Hodgson on Oxlade-Chamberlain, ‘we have our fears there might be some ligament damage’. Scan required for knee.”

    Just so so sad for him.

  8. So the Ox might have Ligament damage.

    If true, he might even miss pre-season.

    Sometimes it is unbelievable.

  9. Poodle.

    Getting Cesc and Costa before the World Cup would be quite a coup for Mourinho. Chelsea needed to score more goals to improve. Costa, Lukaku and Cesc certainly would go a long way towards closing their gap behind City.


    If you really believe that Remy is better then any other option then we should get him. However, getting him because he is the best value on the market is the wrong idea, IMO. I .think striker is a position that we can get even the best possible player we can even if we have to over pay. You don’t necessarily significantly over pay for a left winger or even a DM but getting the best value and not over paying should be much less of a concern when the target is a goal scoring CF.

  10. No Loic Remy.

    Not good enough.

    We need a bit of magic up front. Not just anyone will do.

    I think the two key players to look at are Benzema and Falcao.

    Benzema depends on what Madrid does. they may yet bring a player in and decide to keep him (or sell if they decide to keep Morata). very fluid situation but the Frenchman is still only 26 and has his best seasons ahead so pplenty of upside for us.

    Falcao’s injury may keep him a little under the radar. He won’t have the tournament to remind certain fickle clubs what a world class player he is. At 28/29, he may be a stop gap for the duration of wenger’s new contract but what a player to have up top to add invention and finishing.

    We should not bring just any player in up top. Good enough will not do. We need to add top quality here. It’s been what has been lacking since RVp’s departure.

    You don’t think Wenger was in pursuit of Higuain and Suarez just to settle for a Loic Remy? That would be retarded. Wenger has been holding out for a BIG name up top. He knows the movement this summer a season ago. Hence the restrain in January (besides lack of options).

    If we add the class up top and take care of RB, CB and GK, we will have added the missing ingredient to this team which has been in reconstruction for 4 seasons now since Wenger abandoned the erroneous Academy graduate policy.

    It won’t be easy but expect big things in this position.

  11. No Cesc.

    1) he is too expensive at 30m ++ before bidding war.
    2) We have a surfeit of midfielders in the central area with Chamberlain due to shift centre and Ozil, Ramsey, Jack not to mention the occasional Diaby, Zelalem from Academy featuring.
    3) We have other priorities which will be impacted if we lose focus chasing nostalgia.


    We will need :

    1) RB. Anywhere from 7m to 15m
    2) CB. 10-12m range
    3) GK. free to 5m
    4) STRIKER. 24-35m

    Plus the Academy will need replenishment and this segment of the market will increasingly need some money thrown in given competition form other clubs.

    That’s easily a 55-65m spend.

    There is no need and no room for Fabregas at present. Much like the whole DM issue (where there are continued irrational voices for a bruising DM in the mold of a Mvila, Paulinho or Wanyama type), midfield can await another season.

  12. Cback is also a very big concern.

    We need someone who can rotate through Meterscielny. preferably if he can add that ‘Big bruising DM role’, it could also be a plus. The player should also preferably be between 23-25 with just enough experience but coming into top end of career (this considering Meterscielny is 27/28)

    In addition, we may well need a fourth CB bc of Sagna’s departure. Miquel should be looked at as it is make or break season for him. he must have done OK with Leicester with them being promoted and all albeit he did not feature in the entirety of the campaign. Also an option is the younger Hayden whom Wenger rates highly. either one should be decent enough for a 4th choice surely.

  13. If you have seen how Wenger operates over the seasons, you would not even have to bother thinking about him being side tracked by the World Cup.

    He has always mentioned that club form is his litmus test.

    I think (Price permitting) a Seamus Coleman would be a good buy being that RB has been a solid certainty over Sagna’s reign and we should not gamble with a slow start and someone with possible transitional issues. But the price must likely fall under 15m otherwise a gamble on Aurier or jaanmat or even Debucchy will become attractive.

    Coleman adds plenty of PL experience but also an attacking threat out wide which we need. Plus a quality striker, we will enhance our firepower significantly (which will hopefully close on the GD gap this season)

  14. i dont rate costa at all
    i found myself believing in the hype until atletico started catching the attention of everyone after xmas and as i watched more and more of their games i found myself thinking hes a very strong focal point of their attack but they are very much a team and he relies on them more than they rely on him..
    hes done well this season but mainly becuase the 10 behind him did well…. hes big and strong but hes not exactley a speedster nor does he dribble..
    hes not very good in one on ones and hes crap at penalties…his goals were put on a plate for him..theres plenty of strikers like that about…weve got one already..

    i dont rate balotelli either…well i do but hes like another suarez…the difference is whereas suarez is a bellend on the pitch and hes that good you can accept it if hes your player… balotelli is a bellend on the training ground and everyday life and will kill his own career before hes 25..he wont last a year with anyone hes got too many issues… weve just got rid of one..

    remy?? i think thats just being cheap and addicted to cheap frenchies…theres better players we can afford..hes not that good..hes not better than what we already have i cant see where he plays and who we drop for him..i certainly wouldnt replace podolski with remy and pod cant get in the first team as it is..

    if we are buying a striker he needs to be good enough to help us make up the 40 goals we need to challenge mcity..

    like reus..

    as for cesc..i dont think we should buy him for sentiment
    nor do i think we should buy him to stop anyone else buying him..
    i think we should buy him because hes one of the best midfielders in the world..he scores and assists and hes better than any of the midfielders we have and when theres a chance to buy those players then thats how you strengthen a squad..midfield might be well stocked..but not in cescs quality it isnt and even though we have 100 midfielders it didnt stop us from running out of them did it?
    he engineered a move away..but so did campbell flamini and henry and if we can welcome them back to help us out when they are passed their best then we can welcome cesc back when hes in his prime…just becuase they were cheap and cescs going to cost 30 mil doesnt make it ok to say oh well we dont need him..

    weve got between 75 -100 mil to spend we can still buy cesc and afford the priority..

    we aint counting the pennies everyone accepts we are loaded, if the world class players are avialable fucking buy them..

    or are we going to spend another summer watching everyone else buy them and then say there was nobody available while sitting on a cash reserve of 150mil and falling short with another title challenge with stop gaps and freebies??

  15. not sure why people continue to gripe about us not buying anyone last summer.

    We outlayed 42.3m for Ozil. Then the groans that he was’nt money well spent.

    then flamini for free buy people need to see money spent to consider anything a good addition these days.

    We were one shy of a top striker but we did reasonable business. Adding numbers does not equate to success as in Spurs.

    We will add when ready. Most of the time, additions come late BC that is the time prices come down. But agreed this season we have a bit more muscle and can afford to at least clear the decks with some of the required additions early on. There is no reason to wait for the end of the World cup.

    His commentary gig aside, I don’t think wenger believes this the case either. a bit of smoke but the striker may require movement by other clubs as per usual. So striker may be added closer to the end.

  16. So Rambo got the Player of the Season vote…. well done the boy. And the BFG got second. Well deserved.

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